Australia’s share market may not have seen anything like Afterpay before.
The local buy now, pay later darling has bounced from less than $8 per share back in March at the bottom of the bear market to eight times that, surpassing the $66 mark in intraday trade on Thursday.
The spectacular tear has catapulted its co-founders, Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen to billionaire status.
Each hold around 20.5 million shares, or an 8.5% stake of the company. At Thursday’s share price, their stockholding would be worth $1.35 billion to their respective net worths alone.
While extraordinary, it’s even more remarkable given Molnar is just 30 years old, making him the country’s youngest-ever self-made billionaire. For comparison, Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar were 34 and 33 respectively when they hit that milestone in 2014 – the same year Molnar started Afterpay.
More recently, Canva co-founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht were 31 years old when they joined the ten digit club last year.
Of course, Molnar’s net worth – like many of Australia’s rich listers – is tied up in equity at a time when the market is progressing through one of its most volatile periods on record.
When Afterpay was in the doldrums at $8 a share, both co-founders might not have registered on the rich list at all.
However, its recent low didn’t last long, with investors rapidly piling in and buying the dip. A quick expansion in the US combined with a major deal with Chinese giant Tencent, thought to give Afterpay an inside lane on the country’s giant consumer market, has put a rocket under the company, the momentum of which is yet to dissipate.
Its rebound into investor graces has been all the more remarkable given the wider economy. Tied up in millennial discretionary spending, it’s no shock that a nationwide shutdown and emerging recession would have wiped billions from the company’s market cap.
And yet, despite looming regulatory concerns, a global pandemic, an economic outlook mired in uncertainty, surging youth unemployment, and the nation’s first recession in 30 years, Afterpay has only rocketed higher.
For how long it can maintain those lofty heights is another matter altogether.
This article first appeared on Business Insider Australia and is reproduced here with permission.